Pentek Introduces 7631A 16-Channel High-Speed PCI Multiband Receiver

10/20/2004 - Pentek, Inc., the industry pioneer of VME board-level technology, introduced its latest in a series of Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) modules. The new 7631A is a 16-channel multiband digital receiver that features two 14-bit A/Ds with a Virtex-II Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) for direct wideband signal processing at sample rates as high as 105 MHz. Pentek's GateFlow tool suite allows implementation of user-defined signal processing functions in the gate array. In addition, the board comes with complete software drivers for Windows and Linux to ensure quick start-up and yet allow full access to all board hardware.

Engineered for radar pulse analysis, satellite communications and signal intelligence applications, the 7631A provides a compelling combination of signal processing power with design flexibility. It is especially attractive where traditional signal processing VME card cages are being replaced by Intel Pentium desktop computers for host-processing tasks. By implementing their signal processing algorithms in the FPGA, users get the benefit of hardware speed with the programmability of a processor, without loading the system host processor.

Rodger Hosking, vice president of Pentek, Inc., explained, "Some of our customers who previously used DSP chips have been able to shift their processing tasks to Pentium platforms. Pentek is now providing a robust solution that allows designers to work in a much lower-cost desktop environment and still take advantage of some of the renowned high-performance front-end technology from Pentek."

The Model 7631A accepts two analog inputs on PCI slot-panel SMA connectors, either from baseband HF sources or IF outputs from communications receivers. Each input is transformer-coupled to and digitized by AD6645 14-bit A/D converters capable of operating at sample rates of 80 MHz or 105 MHz. The sample clock is derived from an 80 or 100 MHz internal crystal oscillator or an external clock supplied through a front-panel SMA connector. A one-in-N decimation mode allows operation at lower frequencies.

Flexible Configuration, Switching and Synchronization
A clock/sync bus allows synchronization of local oscillator phase, frequency switching, decimating filter phase and data collection among multiple 7631As. One board acts as a master, driving sample clock, sync and gate signals out to a PCI slot-panel cable bus using LVDS differential signaling. The master can drive as many as seven slaves by itself. By using a Pentek Model 9190 Clock and Sync Generator to drive the signals, as many as 80 boards can be configured to operate synchronously.

Samples from the two A/Ds drive four Graychip GC4016 quad multiband digital receiver chips. A crossbar switch inside each GC4016 allows all 16-receiver channels on board to independently select either of the two A/D inputs. Each receiver chip includes four receiver channels capable of independent center frequency tuning from DC to 50 MHz with output bandwidths ranging from 5 kHz to 2.5 MHz. The receivers also offer a channel combining mode that allows two or four channels to operate as one with bandwidths up to 10 MHz, supporting many of the new wideband wireless standards. Users can also bypass the GC4016s, connecting the A/Ds directly to the FPGA array to achieve signal processing with even wider bandwidth. An optional DIN connector brings 37 or 64 signal lines from the FPGA off board for applications that require custom I/O.

Customer Configurable FPGA
The Model 7631A can be equipped with either XC2V1000 or XC2V3000 FPGA devices from the Xilinx Virtex-II family, offering logic densities of one or three million gates respectively. The FPGAs are factory-configured to perform standard modes of data packing, formatting and channel selection. The optional GateFlow FPGA Designer's Kit is available for custom applications to take advantage of unused resources within the FPGA, as much as 70 percent of the gates in the XC2V3000. Pentek's GateFlow IP Cores for pipelined FFTs and wideband digital receivers can be used with the design kit or installed at the factory as ready-to-use functions, eliminating the need for FPGA development by the customer.

Pricing & Availability
The Model 7631A starts at $6,795 US with availability starting at eight to 10 weeks ARO. ReadyFlow board support packages are available to speed development tasks, and both Linux and Windows drivers are available to allow high-level programming on workstations. Driver source code is included with Linux, allowing users to modify software functionality. For more information on the Model 7631A, go to Pentek's website at

About Pentek
Pentek develops, manufactures and markets innovative DSP systems to original equipment manufacturers, distributors and value-added resellers. Pentek offers powerful VME, PMC, VIM and PCI boards for data acquisition, software radio and digital signal processing featuring Texas Instrument's C6000 DSPs, Motorola's G4 PowerPC and Xilinx FPGAs. Pentek's I/O includes A/Ds, D/As, digital receivers and upconverters and more. Pentek equips products with interfaces like RACE++ and FPDP-II and offers strong DSP software support.

Pentek and GateFlow are registered trademarks of Pentek, Inc.

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